Clare Fleming, The momentary triumph of aggression over tenderness
Bronte Perry, Awaiting Paradise
August 28th- September 14th
The momentary triumph of aggression over tenderness
In The momentary triumph of aggression over tenderness, Clare Fleming brings together sound and image to recall the interior world of motherhood as it is felt. In this deeply subjective practice of psychodrama and catharsis, her documentation of the domestic tableau works to frame a soundscape that is a raw re-enactment of a mother’s mind produced by the deep listening and self-excavation of parenting by connection.
This work of disclosure investigates the ambiguity between memory and experience, reality and re-enactment. It questions the mythologies of women’s magazines and influencer feeds, and the art-historical representation of the mother, in an emotional self-portrait of the agony and the ecstasy. Here, the mother is both contemporary archetype and lived contradiction.
Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel. Psalm 2:9
In the memory of my grandmother’s house I can hear Armageddon. It bubbles and seeps underneath the floorboards, whispering cold horrors from the ashtray and old Cody’s on her kitchen table. It’s in this house that family values and religious dogma formed a site of corruption of kinship, a place where religious practice and abuse were amalgamated into one another. Where whanaungatanga was lost as the fragility of colonial kinship cracked under its own weight.
My hands buried deep among the pamphlets of his leather bag, a brother of the faith once told me:
“The dead will rise again Bronte, and you will be greeted by them in lush fields laden with fruit.”
I still dream of her kicking and flailing as she screamed for god to not let her die. The stress of not knowing how to respond to her passing was more traumatic than watching her beg wildly for god to save her; for we are taught to not speak ill of the dead – or the dying. Between the spatters of fluid that were filling her lungs, Tim said “we will meet you again in paradise”. But I wonder still if she found her way to Hine-nui-te-Po or whether the assimilated lay aimlessly in purgatory.
I no longer think of paradise but I still dream Armageddon, the crumbling salt pillar of Lots wife and Linda singing Poi E as she drowned.